Cash-strapped parents can take some early festive cheer from the news that it's back to basics for this year's Christmas toys.
With more games and old favourites like Lego and Monopoly set to take a place under the Christmas tree, the toy industry's annual prediction of the festive season's best-selling toys suggests that extravagant children's gifts are off this year's Christmas menu.
In fact Dream Toys — the Toy Retail Association's (TRA) list of the ‘must-have' toys for Christmas — features no toys over £50 in this year's Top 12.
And in the list of 72 toys there are just three — all construction sets — over £50 (£59.99).
As last year's list included one toy for £299.99 and another for £249.99, and was dotted with items well over £50, this year's list is definitely a bonus for penny-pinching mums and dads who still want to buy their kids top toys.
Some toy experts say the cheaper prices on the list reflect the toy industry's need to respond to the recession by introducing less expensive items.
But TRA chairman Gary Grant insists that the retailers who compiled the list didn't purposefully go for low-budget options — just what they thought kids would want this Christmas.
“It's back to basics this year, and that could be why the prices have fallen,” he explained.
However, a place on the list doesn't necessarily guarantee great sales, and Grant stressed: “If we get our predictions 75% right we're doing okay. This is an educated finger in the air.”
There are two games in the Top 12 ‘Dream Dozen' this year — Lego Games Minotaurus (£17.99) and Monopoly City (£24.99) — whereas last year there were none in the Top 12.
Parents will be pleased to see old names like Lego and Monopoly on the list as well as other familiar brands such as Barbie, Play Doh, Rubiks Cube and Meccano.
“What we've experienced this year has been a resurgence in people going back to traditional, trusted brands,” said Mr Grant.
Mr Grant believes parents aren't necessarily looking for cheaper toys, but want good quality items that have lasting play value.
Overall toy sales are down 10% on last year and Mr Grant admits that the toy market has found 2009 a challenge.
- Battle Strikers starter set, £9.99
- Go Go Pets Hamsters, £9.99
- LEGO Minotaurus, £17.99
- Bakugan Battle Pack, Spin Master, £19.99
- Bendaroos Mega Pack, £19.99
- GX Racers Tightrope Terror, £22.99
- Transformers Movie 2 Voyagers Figures, £22.99
- Monopoly City, £24.99
- Ben 10 Alien Force Kevins DX Action Cruiser, £29.99
- Princess Peppa's Palace, £39.99
- Sylvanian Families Caravan,£44.99
- Kidizoom Multimedia Digital Camera, £49.99